Saturday & Sunday Courses

Why participate in the Weekend Enrichment Programs? The Saturday & Sunday Enrichment Programs:

  • Offer a community of like-minded peers.
  • Provide challenging accelerated courses with admissions score criteria.
  • Present opportunities to delve deeper into a single topic and to develop an advantage in one’s area of strength.
  • Focus on the whole family, offering parent education workshops that address the social-emotional development of gifted learners.

Free Parent Seminars

New for Fall 2016! CTD has partnered with Rush NeuroBehavioral Center for a series on Navigating the Complex Cognitive and Emotional Needs of a Gifted Child. We hope you will join us for these free seminars! View the schedule for these fall dates


Application Process & Fees

The Weekend Enrichment Program welcomes applications from new applicants, returning applicants and portfolio applicants. Before beginning the online application, determine which type of applicant you are based on the descriptions below.

New Applicant
You are a new applicant if you are age 4 through grade 9 and you meet either one of the following criteria:

  • You have never attended any CTD program and you have qualifying test scores that are no more than two years old.
  • You have previously attended a Weekend Enrichment Program, Gifted LearningLinks Program or the Summer Program, but you are now applying for a course in a different subject area and you have qualifying test scores.

Returning Applicant
You are a returning applicant if you are age 4 through grade 9 and you meet both of the following criteria: 

  • You have successfully completed a CTD course through the Weekend Enrichment Program, Summer Program or Gifted LearningLinks Program.
  • You are now applying for a WEP course in the same subject area of the CTD course you previously completed and wish to use your old scores as evidence of your qualifications for the program.

Portfolio Applicant
You are a portfolio applicant if you are grade 3 through 9 and you meet the following criterion:

  • You do not have qualifying test scores because you have either 1) never taken a nationally normed standardized achievement test or 2) taken this type of test but not achieved a qualifying test score.


  • Fall 2016 8-week session: $420
  • Winter 2017 8-week session: $420
  • Spring 2017 6-week session: $330

Withdrawal Policy

  • Requests for withdrawals and refunds must be made in writing by the Tuesday prior to the course start date. E-mail requests should be sent to
  • Withdrawals are subject to a processing fee of $60.
  • The tuition is nonrefundable after the Tuesday prior to the course start date.
  • Students who withdraw after the start of the program are not eligible for any refund.


Some WEP courses require prerequisites. Please see course descriptions for more information.


To qualify for the Weekend Enrichment Program (WEP) admission to enrichment (not for credit) courses, students must be age 4 through grade 9 and must also provide evidence of one of the following criteria:

  • Within the last two years, successful completion of a CTD Weekend Enrichment Program, Gifted LearningLinks (excluding Family Program courses) or Summer Program course in the subject area of the WEP course to which student is applying;
  • Within the last two years, a score at the 90th percentile or above on a nationally normed standardized test (see below) in the subject area of the WEP course to which student is applying;
  • Participation in above grade-level testing such as the EXPLORE® test taken in grades 3, 4, 5, or 6, the ACT® or SAT® test taken in grades 6, 7, 8 or 9 (NUMATS).
  • Qualifying academic evaluation (available to students age 4 through grade 3) performed by Center for Talent Development or a similar testing agency; or
  • Submission of an Admission Portfolio (an option only for students in grades 3 through 9).

Admission Portfolio for Enrichment Classes

An Admission Portfolio is accepted once a student is in grade 3 and includes all the following documents:

  • Required: one teacher recommendation form indicating student is performing 1½ to 2 years above grade level in the subject area of the WEP course to which student is applying; 
  • Required: recent school report card indicating exceptional performance in the subject area of the WEP course to which student is applying; 
  • If available: most recent state testing report; any results of EXPLORE®, ACT®, SAT® or other nationally normed test

High School Credit Courses

To qualify for WEP admission to honors-level high school credit courses, students must provide evidence of one of the following criteria:

  • Within the last two years, a score at the 95th percentile or above on a nationally normed standardized test in the appropriate subject area (see below);
  • Within the last two years, participate in above grade-level testing and receive score as follows in the appropriate subject area:
    • ACT-Reading 19 or above
    • ACT-Math 18 or above 
    • ACT-Science 18 or above 
    • SAT-Math 460 or above 
    • SAT-Critical Reading 440 or above
    • EXPLORE-Reading 14 or above
    • EXPLORE-Math 15 or above 
    • EXPLORE-Science 16 or above; or 
  • Submission of an Admission Portfolio.

Admission Portfolio for High School Credit Courses

An Admission Portfolio includes the following documents:

  • Required: two teacher recommendations forms indicating student is performing 1½ to 2 years above grade level in the subject area of the WEP course to which student is applying;
  • Required: current school report card indicating exceptional performance in the subject area of the WEP course to which student is applying;
  • If available: most recent state testing report; any results of EXPLORE®, ACT®, SAT® or other nationally normed test,

Homeschooler Admission Portfolio
A Homeschooler Admission Portfolio includes:

  • Two teacher recommendations forms from adults unrelated to the applicant; and 
  • Parent’s statement describing the student’s learning in the appropriate academic area over the past year, including references to curriculum, books, projects and activities.

Additionally, the Homeschooler Admission Portfolio may include any or all of the following, depending on availability:

  • Copies of the student’s best work in the appropriate academic area; 
  • Copies of teacher evaluations from any classes taken from umbrella schools, co-ops, etc.; 
  • Copies of any available standardized test reports taken in the last 24 months; 
  • Copy of transcript or grade report for current academic year (Please indicate if this was produced by a parent); and
  • Any other information that might provide insight into the student’s academic strengths and help us place him/her in the appropriate course.

Acceptable Tests for WEP Eligibility

To prove eligibility for WEP, applicants may submit a nationally normed, standardized achievement test taken within the last two years demonstrating a score in the 90th percentile or above (National Percentile Rank) in math and/or reading. Below are examples of tests we have accepted for admission. (Please note: since achievement tests are preferred, cognitive ability tests, such as the Weschler tests, may require additional documentation.)

  • Center for Talent Development Academic Evaluation 
  • ACT® or SAT® Test
  • Stanford Achievement Test 
  • Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)
  • Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) 
  • Terra Nova Test 
  • ERB Tests: Comprehensive Testing Program, Independent School Entrance Exam
  • Northwest Evaluation Association Tests (NWEA): Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), MAP for Primary Grades 
  • Otis-Lennon Test
  • Kaufman Test of Education Achievement (KTEA) 
  • Weschler Tests: WPPSI, WISC, WIAT 
  • Woodcock-Johnson Test 
  • Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT) 
  • California Achievement Test 
  • School and College Ability Test (SCAT) 
  • Any other achievement test with a National Percentile Rank (NPR %)

*95th percentile or above (National Percentile Rank) scores in math and/or reading are required for WEP honors-level, high school credit courses.

Financial Aid Opportunities

CTD offers need-based financial aid awarded as requests are received. Families are encouraged to apply early because the amount of aid available is limited.

  • The amount of financial aid awarded varies from partial to full tuition, and awards are based on family income and extenuating circumstances (e.g., loss of job, unforeseen medical expenses, etc.). Most families awarded aid have a total household income of less than $50,000.
  • Financial aid is awarded for one program and one session per child.
  • To be considered for financial aid, families must complete the Financial Aid Application, available once a family has applied through the online application. All supporting materials (tax information, statement of need, etc.) must be included in the financial aid submission in order for an application for financial aid to be considered.

Course Environment

Key Aspects that Make the WEP Environment Unique

  • Extensive time is spent in the classroom studying one subject. 
    • Choosing a course that suits a student's strengths and interests is crucial.
  • WEP courses are dynamic. 
    • Students engage in a variety of activities during each class session.
    • Students work independently, in pairs, and in small groups.
  • Classes are rigorous, designed to be up to 2 years academically advanced, and there is little unstructured time. 
    • This requires significant focus and energy on the part of the students.

Locations & Times

Evanston, IL (EV)
Northwestern University

AM classes: 9am-11:30am
PM classes (Saturday only): Noon-2:30pm

Palatine, IL (PA)
Quest Academy 
500 N. Benton St.

AM classes: 9am-11:30am

Chicago, IL (CH)
The Frances Xavier Warde School
Holy Name Campus 
751 N. State St.

AM classes: 9am-11:30am
PM classes: Noon-2:30pm 

Naperville, IL (NP)
North Central College 
31 N. Loomis St.

AM classes: 9am-11:30am
PM classes: Noon-2:30pm

Lake Bluff, IL (LB)
Lake Bluff Elementary School
350 W. Washington Ave.

AM classes: 9am-11:30am

Safety & Conduct

The Weekend Enrichment Program (WEP) staff takes every reasonable step to ensure the safety and well-being of every WEP student, including the following:

  • Requiring a high standard for student conduct; and
  • Protecting student information.

High Standards for Student Conduct In order to maintain a safe and inviting learning environment, WEP participants must adhere to the CTD Honor Code. The Honor Code establishes standards and expectations for student behavior and reflects CTD's commitment to fostering character development, integrity and respect for diversity. 

Program Orientation

Acceptance notifications are sent via e-mail two to three weeks following receipt of a completed application. Please pay special attention to this notification. It will include information about student course placement and a link to access further information on:

  • Program orientation
  • Program policies
  • Supplies
  • Behavioral expectations


All Weekend Enrichment Program students receive a narrative evaluation that includes comments on the student’s performance in class as well as recommendations for future study. These evaluations are available 6 weeks after the final WEP class of the session. Students enrolled in high school credit-bearing courses also receive an official Center for Talent Development (CTD) transcript (upon request) with the course grade. To request a transcript, please email Whether taking classes for enrichment or academic credit, students benefit from the feedback and guidance they receive at the end of each session.

NEW! Hybrid In-Person & Online Courses

What is a hybrid course?

Hybrid courses combine in-person instruction with an online learning environment.  These “blended” courses offer the flexibility to complete a course for high school credit by meeting face-to-face for two full weekends, in addition to engaging in 34 weeks of online course work. Each hybrid course is equivalent to two semesters of high school credit.  

Why should I consider a hybrid course?

Hybrid courses are ideal for motivated and independent learners with busy schedules. These courses allow students to participate in labs and projects face-to-face, and continue engaging with their instructors and classmates during the academic year in an online environment.

  • Admission Requirements: see the eligibility criteria for honors courses, above.
  • Students must be available for two on-site weekends
  • Students should anticipate 5-7 hours of online course work each week
  • Acceptance of credits by student’s school depends on that school’s institutional policy. Discuss credit acceptance with appropriate school administrator before applying if you are planning to receive credit at your school.
  • We are not accepting applications at this time, but these are courses we offered for the 2016-2017 school year:

Introduction to Pre-med Honors (Gr 6-9)

Considering a career as a doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional?  This course provides a sampling of many disciplines required in most medical schools.  Students learn biological principles, basics of chemistry, and anatomy and physiology. Additionally, participants explore public health issues, immunology and current research.  On-site and virtual laboratory experiences - including dissections, chemical experiments and microscope labs - develop skills in appropriate lab protocol and conduct.

NOTES:  May be used as a lab science for IMSA and other selective high school applications; COST: $1235 (includes lab & materials fee) 

Introduction to Computer Science Honors (Gr 6-9)

What do computer scientists really do? Explore topics in computing such as abstraction and encapsulation, software engineering, and web development as you expand critical thinking and logic skills. Learn to build and implement programs and apps to solve real-world problems using languages such as Java, Python, PHP and JavaScript plus SQL, HTML, and more.

NOTES: Computers will be available on-site for students who choose not to bring their own laptops for the in-person weekends.

COST: $1,200

Job Opportunities

CTD takes pride in having excellent instructional staff. Courses are designed to be rigorous hands-on experiences for academically advanced students. Visit the Weekend Enrichment Program Job Opportunities pages to learn more.


Kid Chemists AM (PreK-K)

January 15, 2017 - March 5, 2017 9:00 am to 11:30 am

How does a substance’s phase affect its properties and behavior?

Did you know there are actually four states of matter? Discover the exciting world of chemistry through the study of the properties and interactions of substances. Young chemists conduct hands-on, age-appropriate experiments and watch engaging demonstrations to discover what composes matter in its various states. Chemical bonding and reactions add an “element” of surprise to this investigation into the chemistry that surrounds us.

QUALIFYING SCORE: Reading or math


Subject Area
Evanston, IL

Mathemagicians AM (K-1)

January 14, 2017 - March 4, 2017 9:00 am to 11:30 am

How can you solve number problems using special tricks?

Young Mathemagicians explore the four main operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division through hands-on math activities and games. Understand and develop a toolbox of math “tricks” for fast and accurate whole number computation. Solve a range of number problems and puzzles using strategies like estimation, mental computation, and equal grouping. Create original math computation problems using the special strategies investigated in class.


SUBJECT AREA(s): Mathematics

Subject Area
Lake Bluff, IL

Chronicles of Mythological Creatures AM (Gr. 1-2)

January 14, 2017 - March 4, 2017 9:00 am to 11:30 am

How do legends about mythical creatures help explain natural events?

Why are myths still important today? Travel back in time to ancient cultures using stories of dragons and other mythical creatures.  Explore the best of mythology and watch mythical beings come alive. Trace the origin of tales and characters of all kinds. BEWARE! Your imagination may run wild as you create original mythical stories.


SUBJECT AREA(s): English & Language Arts

Subject Area
English & Language Arts
Naperville, IL

Storytelling with Scratch AM (Gr. 2-3)

January 14, 2017 - March 4, 2017 9:00 am to 11:30 am

How can we tell a digital story?

Create original storylines and narratives across genres and animate them in Scratch, a graphical programming language for kids.  Design code, sketch animations and backgrounds, and develop characters that tell your story in a digital format. This interdisciplinary course blends advanced creative writing strategies with computational concepts and integrative problem-solving skills.

Note: No formal programming experience is necessary. Students who have previously taken Programming with Scratch can still take this course

QUALIFYING SCORE: Reading or math

SUBJECT AREA(s): Computer Science & Technology and English & Language Arts

Subject Area
English & Language Arts
Evanston, IL

Makerspace in Miniature PM (Gr. 3-4)

January 14, 2017 - March 4, 2017 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm

How do we use scale to create working models?

Explore and construct 2D and 3D shapes using paper and digital renderings of original projects. Develop an understanding of basic electronics concepts like circuitry and integrate them into 3D models. Make LEDs light up a motorized tiny pet that moves. Create your own complex miniature art and design projects using a range of modeling and building strategies, and get an introduction to 3D printing.

QUALIFYING SCORE: Reading or math

SUBJECT AREA(s): Design & Enginneering and Computer Science & Technology

Subject Area
Technology & Engineering
Evanston, IL

From Debate to Editorial AM (Gr. 4-5)

January 14, 2017 - March 4, 2017 9:00 am to 11:30 am

Does a well-written essay always translate into an effective oral argument?

Could you be a speechwriter for the president? Essays and speeches must be crafted strategically to have the greatest impact. Explore rhetorical devices and other techniques for constructing strong written pieces that translate into powerful speeches. Write editorials on topics of interest to you and convince your classmates of your point of view.


SUBJECT AREA(s): English & Language Arts

Subject Area
English & Language Arts
Chicago, IL

Materials Science & Engineering: Biosensors AM (Gr. 6-8)

January 14, 2017 - March 4, 2017 9:00 am to 11:30 am

How do materials scientists & engineers develop new materials using chemistry & biology?

A sophisticated advancement in biotechnology is the use of biosensors. These detecting devices can be used to measure compounds present in the environment, chemical processes, food and the human body. In this hands-on class, investigate and test biological molecules and enzymatic reactions. Make, design, and evaluate a biosensor that demonstrates the potential of these fascinating molecules and how they will impact the medical field in the future.

Note: Additional $25 materials fee required.

QUALIFYING SCORE: Reading or math

SUBJECT AREA(s): Design & Engineering and Science

Subject Area
Palatine, IL
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